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Hassan’s Tale, Part 15 – Buried Treasure

As I approached I slowed, and finally stopped at the driveway, in the exact spot where – long ago – our family car had exploded with my mother in it.


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14

See the Story Index for a chronological guide to all the stories.


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Jamilah shook her head in wonderment. In 2002, when Hassan had been released from prison, she’d still been in high school. And yet Hassan had been been through so much already by that time. She wondered if he could ever truly relate to her on a personal level. Does he see me as an equal, she wondered? Or am I a child to him?

“What happened to my namesake?”Jamilah said. “To Jamil? Do you know?”

Hassan nodded. “I heard through the grapevine that he’s in a low security facility in Fort Worth.”

“You mean he’s still locked up?”

“What grapevine?” Muhammad asked.

“Ex-cons I’ve run into. You know Asante from the masjid?”

“Mm, yeah,” Layth said. “Built like a linebacker.”

Hassan nodded. “He was in El Reno. I’ve met others at the Oakland masjid and even on the street. I saw Cutter living in a homeless encampment in China Basin. He looked like a junkie. I rode by and he didn’t recognize me. I just kept going.”

“When will Jamil get out?” Jamilah asked.

“Allahu a’lam,” Hassan said. “Maybe never. He killed two men during a drug deal when he was eighteen, before he became Muslim. He has a life sentence.” 

“Oh.” Jamilah felt her heart sink. “That doesn’t seem fair. Don’t they take into account that he’s a different person now?”

“Jamil would disagree with you about it not being fair,” Hasan said. “He’d say that he took two human lives and that there’s never a day when he’s not conscious of that, and that ‘fair’ does not always apply in this dunya, and that the dunya is a prison for the believer in any case, so what’s one prison inside another? And he would say that in the end it’s in Allah’s hands, and Allah will do what He wills. When Allah wants Jamil out, he’ll be out.”

“I see why you wanted us to know about him,” Layth said.

“He was a second father to me,” Hassan said. “The day I got out he hugged me and said, ‘Remember, Allah is with you out there, just like He was with you in here. He cares about you. You have a purpose. Find it. When you’re out of ideas, ask Allah.’

I needed to hear that, because I had no life plan beyond finding whatever my father had left for me, if indeed he had left anything at all.

I arrived at the San Francisco airport and immediately caught a Greyhound bus to Los Angeles. I still wore the clothes I’d been arrested in – they’d been returned to me on my release – and they didn’t fit. I’d packed on seventy pounds of muscle in prison. My legs were tree trunks and my shoulders were bowling balls.” 


“You look like that now,” Muhammad said.

“No, I was bigger then. Seven years of lifting weights will do that. My pants were about to split, and my shirt was stretched across my chest. But I didn’t care.

On the bus, a man kept talking to himself, muttering about a yellow cat and how it was following him. Other passengers glanced at him in surreptitious concern, while others ignored him. As for me, I didn’t care.

In the seat in front of me, a baby cried. The mother sang a lullaby, but he continued bawling. I didn’t care.

The bus was air conditioned and grew chilly, but again, I didn’t care. None of that mattered. I was dazed, feeling like the world was a waking dream.

America itself – the land of my idyllic, if strange childhood – had seemed like a dream for so long. America was a distant memory of a land of ketchup, banana splits and building sand castles on the beach while Charlie tried to knock them down. A land of family. And of course, a land of imprisonment.

And now here I was, free to go and do as I wished. It didn’t seem real. I had a deep fear that it was literally a dream, and that I would wake up in my cramped cell in El Reno, hearing the six a.m. work alarm and the pounding of prisoners’ boots on the steel tiers outside. And if this wasn’t a dream, then surely the FBI would realize they had been duped, and that I was not in fact Hassan Amir. Any moment they would stop the bus and drag me off. They’d send me back to Turkey, where I would find myself once again in… that place.

The mother in front of me put her baby on her shoulder and patted him on the back, trying to burp him. He settled his big blue eyes on me and stopped crying. He regarded me, I imagined, with the same wonder with which I regarded him. I had not seen a baby in years. I’d forgotten how their eyes could be cherubic yet wise at the same time.

The baby gazed at me with a hint of a smile – I might have imagined it – and if anything his eyes grew larger, radiating wonder and total acceptance. Had my eyes ever been so guileless?

I looked into those big eyes, wide and deep as oceans, and he looked into mine, and the moment stretched into what seemed like minutes. Adults will meet your eyes for a moment then look away, but this baby held my gaze with innocent boldness. I began to feel that I was looking into his soul and he into mine. Would my inner reality frighten him?

As he continued to stare into my eyes, I had the feeling – for a moment – that we were one person, and I could hear his thoughts.

“You’re free,” is what I imagined him thinking. “It’s real. No one is coming after you. It’s a dream only because the dunya itself is a dream. Allah is with you here, in this bus. He will not abandon you.”

In that moment I loved that infant, because he was everything good in the world. He was hope and joy. He was the hunger to learn and experience every new thing.

Then the baby let out a loud burp and stuck his fist in his mouth. He broke the contact between us, focusing with great interest on the experience of sucking his own hand.

I was free. Not only free, but free in America, the land of my childhood. I felt a surge of joy like an ocean current, and I laughed. Some of the passengers glanced at me worriedly. Between me and the ‘good one’ guy, they must have feared they’d boarded a bus full of loonies.

As soon as I arrived in L.A. I walked into a clothing store and bought new jeans and a t-shirt, and gave my old clothes to a homeless teenager who sat on the corner at Seventh Street with a black puppy in his lap.

There I stood, on a street corner in Los Angeles, with less than $100 left in my pocket, no job and no home. But I’d known where I was going when I got on the bus. There was only one person I could go to – my father’s old friend, B.” 


Muhammad opened his mouth to say something and Hassan cut him off with a wave.

“I know what you’re going to say,” Hassan said. “And yes I do trust you all. But it’s one thing to talk about people who are dead or gone. This person is alive and I have to protect him. It’s safer to be discreet. So he will remain simply B.

B’s son had been my childhood friend, and I’d visited their house many times as a child. I didn’t know if B was alive or dead, or if he still lived in the same place, and if he did whether I could find the house. From the Greyhound station I took a city bus and got lost in Echo Park, which was not only the wrong neighborhood but the wrong city. You can’t imagine how big Los Angeles is if you’ve never been there. It’s a huge conglomeration of cities, all running into each other. I was down to eighty dollars in my pocket but I decided to spend a portion on a cab.

I directed the cabbie in vague terms to the area where I had grown up. As we came near, I recognized a shopping center and the outline of an iconic white factory that had been old when I was a kid. I gripped the headrest of the seat in front of me until I felt my heartbeat in my fingers.

I could have directed the cabbie to my old house, but I resisted the temptation and instead directed him to B’s house.

I recognized the house immediately, though the trees bordering the street were larger, and the sidewalk was cracked from roots pushing up. The shrubbery in the front yard was overgrown, and the grass was rife with weeds. It had never been like that in the past.

B answered the door himself. He’d lost the hair atop his head, and the fringe was white. His face was lined and his jowls sagged. He’d gained so much weight that his belly looked like a beach ball under his shirt. But it was him.

“If you’re here to offer yard service,” he said, “I’m not hiring.”

Though he had changed physically, his voice was the same. I was so relieved to see him that I could not speak. Emotion choked my throat and I merely shook my head.

“Oh,” he said. “What then? Pool service? The newspaper? Speak up.”

I thought I saw the beginnings of fear on his face. I guessed that perhaps my size was intimidating. I made an effort and found my voice. “It’s good to see you Ammu,” I said.

He relaxed visibly and tipped his head back to look down his nose at me, as if trying to peer through a pair of bifocals.

“Are you one of my son’s friends?”

I nodded my head and smiled. “An old friend. Do you remember Simon?”

B’s face drained of blood and he reached out to catch himself from falling. I caught him under the arms and he stared into my eyes from only inches away. His face showed disbelief and wonder.

“Are you Simon Ibrahim?” he whispered. “How can that be?”

I’d known he would be surprised, but I was puzzled by the extremity of his reaction.

“Yes Ammu,” I said. “It’s a long story, but my name is Hassan now. I’m Muslim. And I know that my name was never truly Simon Ibrahim.”

B recovered some of his strength and detached himself from me. His bald pate was beaded with sweat.

“Yes, of course,” he said. “Forgive my reaction. I simply never expected to see you again. I didn’t even know if you had survived the Lebanese civil war.”

He took me inside and I told him all that had transpired. He was shocked at what I had been through, and stunned at the revelation that Boulos Haddad had ordered the death of my father, then tried to kill me. When I was done he clasped my hand and said, “I will help you in every way I can. Don’t worry. You are not on your own.”

I was touched by that. I could never go home again, but this was the next best thing. My joy was short lived, however, as B informed me that his son – my old friend – had been stricken with a degenerative disease. He’d lost the use of his legs and much of his fine motor control with his hands.

I shared with B my belief that my father had hidden something for me. He was excited by the news. He wanted to plan a course of action to get to whatever my father had hidden, but I told him firmly that I didn’t want to involve him in something that might be illegal.

I did accept a loan. B gave me five thousand dollars to get by until I found a job. I rented a room for a weekly rate at a cheap motel called the Bluebell, a half mile from my old house. Then I bought a used bicycle at a local shop.

I avoided my old house. I intended to scout it eventually, but my priority was finding employment. I wanted something under the table, because I didn’t want my name and address on file with the IRS, the Social Security Agency or any other government agency. There was no immediate threat. But I wanted to stay off the books.

I visited a few landscaping services, looking for work, but I recognized right away that those companies were fully staffed with Mexican illegals who were paid illegally low wages. I wouldn’t get anything there. I also tried an ice cream truck company and a few restaurants, to no avail.

In the meantime, I tried to establish my identity as Hassan Amir. Even though I didn’t want to be employed on the books, I intended to secure my hold on my new identity. I applied for a copy of ‘my’ birth certificate and received it. For my address, I gave a post office box that I had rented. It was one of those P.O. boxes that masquerades as a real street address – suite such-and-such. I took a written test at the Department of Motor Vehicles and was granted a temporary driving permit. Then I applied for my driver’s license and was given an appointment for a driving exam.

Four days after I moved into the Bluebell I went out at night for a 7-11 chocolate run and passed a dance club called Slim’s. It had always been closed when I passed it during the day, but was apparently hopping at night. There was a line of people a half a block long, waiting to get in.

The lone doorman – a heavyset black man in a leather coat and sunglasses (worn more for the look than the weather, I supposed) – had his hands full trying to deal with four drunken young men who were beefing about not being allowed in. I soon came to realize, by the way, that sunglasses are an L.A. trademark. Everyone wears them, day and night, if not on their eyes then on the tops of their heads, or dangling around their necks. Old ladies go around with expensive shades buried in beehive haircuts.

The young men at the door shouted and cursed the doorman. One of them stepped forward and tried to shoulder his way through. When the doorman grabbed his neck and pulled him back, the young man swung at him. As the doorman tried to subdue the troublemaker, the other troublemakers pushed forward and joined the melee.

Some of the women in line screamed. The velvet rope delineating the line was knocked over, and people surged into the club without paying.

I’ve never liked seeing a group of cowards ganging up on one person. I parked my bike against the wall, ran forward and waded in. In seconds I’d pulled the young men off the doorman and thrown them to the ground, then blocked the door with my body to prevent any more freeloaders from entering.

The troublemakers walked away, nursing their bruises and cursing, as the doorman rose to his feet and brushed the dust from his leather coat.

“Thanks, man,” he said. “I’m Lenny.”

“I’m Johnny Deluca,” I said. 


Muhammad laughed. “You’re a trip, Hassan,” he said. “Like a spy novel.”

Jamilah didn’t think it was so funny. When someone lied constantly, how were others expected to believe him?

“Why didn’t you give your real name?” Jamilah said. “You were out of prison, free and clear. Why keep on lying?”

Hassan sighed. “Be patient, Jamilah. I think you’ll understand.

Lenny told me that the club was short-staffed and that I should go upstairs and talk to Rocky, the manager, about a job. “You sure got what it takes,” he said. “Tell Rocky I gave you a thumbs up.”

I thought about it. A dance club was not the ideal place of employment for a Muslim. But what was? Grocery stores sold liquor, fast food places served pork, financial institutions dealt in ribaa… How picky could I be? Plus, I’d heard that club work was usually under the table, which was exactly what I wanted. And I would only be managing the crowds at the door, not tending bar. It would do for now, at least.

Rocky was a muscular white guy in a black t-shirt that stretched across his massive chest and shoulders. His sunlamp-bronzed skin glistened in contrast to his tousled blonde hair. I was sure that some people would take him for just another artificial L.A. stereotype, but he had an easy smile and relaxed demeanor that I found appealing. His second floor office was fronted by a one-way mirror that looked down onto the club floor.

He looked me up and down. “You got the size. Good look, too. Can you handle yourself?”

I nodded my head. “The only thing I do well,” I said.

“You know any jokes?” Rocky asked.

I racked my mind, trying to remember a joke. I wasn’t good at jokes. Suddenly I remembered Jelly, one of the Muslim brothers from El Reno. A young brother from Kansas City, Kansas. He used to tell jokes all the time. Like you Muhammad, if you were a former drug dealer with cornrows. I pictured the scene in my head. We’re sitting around on the bandstand after Maghreb, swatting at mosquitoes. We’re finished with our sunnah and dhikr. Jelly pipes up and starts to tell a joke.

With that memory clear in my mind, I began to narrate the joke as I remembered it:

“This homie is struttin’ on the beach,” I said, “and he find a magic lamp. Rub it and a genie -”

“Why are you talking that way?” Rocky interrupted.

I frowned. “What way?”

“Like you’re channeling Eddie Murphy.”

“I… It’s a long story.”

“Huh. Well, maybe jokes aren’t your thing. That’s alright. Can you start tonight? Lenny could use some backup on the door.”

Ten minutes later I was working the door at Slim’s. 


“Hold on,” Muhammad said. “Was it the joke about the guy who wished for all the ladies to love him, and the genie turned him into a chocolate bar?”

Hassan snorted. “No. It was the one where – “

“You brothers do realize,” Kadija said, “that all these genie jokes are essentially about people bargaining with the jinn, which is a major sin?”

Jamilah rolled her eyes. It was one thirty in the morning, Hassan had been shot and still hadn’t told them why, they were finally reaching the end of the entire saga and everyone wanted to talk about jokes. She was about to let loose with a small tirade, but Hassan waved off Kadija’s comment and continued.


I was ready to scout my old house. I bicycled to an internet and print shop where I designed a flyer and printed twenty copies. I purchased a roll of masking tape and a small notebook in which I would record whatever activity I observed in the neighborhood. All of that went in a backpack. Then I rode to the house.

When I reached my old street, I began taping flyers to each telephone pole, on both sides of the street.

I intended to be discreet, but as I approached I slowed, and finally stopped at the driveway, in the exact spot where – so long ago – our family car had exploded and burned with my mother in it. I could see the differently colored cement where the crater in the driveway had been patched. I remembered the stink of urine, the smell of ANFO. More than anything, that smell had stayed with me. Recalling it now made me grimace.

There had been leaves everywhere, I remembered, knocked from the trees by the blast. Or was that something I had seen in Beirut, later? I’d seen so many car bomb scenes, so many mangled bodies, so much destruction…

I looked up at the trees. The leaves were all there. The young oak tree that had bordered the driveway was huge now, shading half the street. Why were there no signs of the explosion? Did trees heal over, or did they scar? I didn’t know.

Hardly knowing what I was doing, I dropped my bicycle on the driveway and stood, looking at the patched cement. I had spent so many years trying to forget that day, but now the memory returned in full force. The explosion that threw me across the room. My father, blood trickling from his ear. The explosion must have burst his eardrum. He must have been in terrible pain. I’d never thought about that before.

I looked up at the house, half expecting to see some sign of the damage. But of course it was in perfect condition. I saw now that it had been rebuilt differently. When I was a child the house had been yellow and white, with a front porch and an overhanging roof – California bungalow style, my mother called it. Now the house was a reddish brown color like dried blood, and the front door was recessed behind a locked gate. All the windows were barred, though they featured colorful flower boxes – perhaps in an attempt to soften the harshness of the bars.

Most significantly, the garage had been rebuilt as a detached cottage with its own front door and chimney. The cottage too had barred windows and stickers on the windows advertising a security company’s services.

I stepped onto the front lawn, which was neatly tended and bordered with succulents and clover. This was the spot where my father had been shot. I looked down, half expecting to see faded bloodstains on the green grass. But of course those events had happened long ago.

I thought about it. In reality, those terrible events had occurred fifteen and a half years ago. And yet in that time I had lived five lifetimes, it seemed.

I sank to my knees on the lawn and buried my fingers in the moist grass. I was aware on some level that I was being anything but discreet. My plan had been stupid. Ride past the house and observe? After so many years, as if nothing had happened? But this awareness felt distant and unimportant. My mind felt sluggish, as if my thoughts had been dipped in tar.

“What are you doing here? What do you want?”

I opened my eyes to see a a petite, thirty-something brunette standing before me, holding a sharp looking kitchen knife and pointing it at me menacingly. She looked frightened and angry.

I cleared my throat and tried to clear my mind as well.

“Sorry,” I said. “I’ve been looking for my dog Jasper and just needed to rest.”

Still on my knees, I took one of the flyers from my backpack and handed it to her.

“Have you seen him?” I asked. “I need to find him.”

I didn’t feel good about lying to the woman. I was aware that I was playing on her sympathies and manipulating her. But what else could I do? It wasn’t like I could say, “You know that car bomb that half-wrecked this neighborhood sixteen years ago? Well, that was my family, and I believe my father buried something beneath your garage, and I need to dig up the floor.”

The woman took the flyer, which depicted a cute cocker spaniel puppy with sad eyes, and the words, “Lost Dog,” along with a description of my imaginary pet and an offer of reward.

The woman’s eyes softened and she regarded me sympathetically. “I’m – I’m sorry,” she said. She made a motion as if to put the knife in her pocket, then thought better of it and looked around as if searching for somewhere to put it. Finally she simply kept it in her hand and looked at me.

“It’s just that we had two attempted break-ins recently,” she said. She waved the knife in the direction of the cottage. “Someone tried to get in our cottage. I don’t know why. There’s nothing of value. Just an old TV and some books.”

“I apologize for sitting on your lawn,” I said, rising slowly, brushing my hands off on my jeans and zipping my backpack closed. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just felt very tired all of a sudden.” That was true enough. I felt as if I had run a marathon.

“Don’t worry about it,” the woman said. “I’m not normally so looney tunes.”

“You have to be safe in this crazy world,” I said. 


Jamilah had a question on the tip of her tongue. There was an obvious deduction that Hassan had ignored completely. But she decided to hold her peace for the moment and let him continue. 


“I had an idea,” Hassan continued.

“Listen,” I said. “Can I ask you something? I moved here from Oklahoma. I’m staying at the Bluebell Motel down the road, and I work security at Slim’s, do you know it?”

The woman laughed. “My club days are past. I’m married.”

“The thing is, I’m looking for a place to live. The Bluebell doesn’t allow pets. I’m always worried they’ll find out about Jasper. Assuming I find him.”

“I’m sure you’ll find him,” the woman said.

“Your cottage would be perfect. It’s close to my work, and I could pay you a decent rent. Jasper’s quiet and he doesn’t shed. Plus, I work security. Maybe having me around would prevent break-ins.”

The woman glanced back at the cottage. “Well,” she said. “It has been empty for a while. We built it for my brother when he was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away three years ago.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “That’s rough.”

She nodded and made a motion as if to brush her hair from her face, then remembered the knife and stopped. “Especially for the kids. Listen, let me talk to my husband and I’ll let you know.” She looked at the flyer. “Is this your number?”

“Actually, that’s the number at Slim’s. I don’t have a phone. Can I just come by tomorrow?”

“Sure. I’m Holly. I’d shake your hand, but…” She held the knife up.

“I’m Johnny,” I said.


When I returned the next day, Holly invited me in and served a cold soda. She informed me that her husband had agreed to rent me the cottage. He was a clothing designer who made frequent business trips to the Far East, and was sometimes gone for a month or more.

“He’s been worried,” Holly said. “Especially since the break-ins. I think he’s relieved that I’ll have someone responsible on the property. You are responsible, aren’t you?”

“Yes ma’am,” I said. “You can call my employer if you like.”

She shook her head. “I can tell you’re alright. I’m good that way. And what’s this ma’am business? I’m practically your age.”

I didn’t know whether to feel good or bad about renting the cottage. It would be hard seeing this place every day. All the memories. Riding my bike over this driveway would be like rubbing my heart on a cheese grater.

To make matters worse, I had a sense that Holly was interested in me on more than a landlord-tenant level. It had been a long time since I’d felt the touch of a woman, and this was a temptation I didn’t need.

On the other hand, living in the cottage meant I’d be able to search for whatever my father had left. The cottage sat directly on the location of the old garage, most likely on the original foundation.

I paid the first month’s rent and deposit and moved in immediately.

The first thing I noticed was the hardwood flooring. The cottage consisted of a single large room with a small bathroom in the rear corner. It didn’t have a proper kitchen – just a formica countertop with a sink, hotplate and microwave, and a mini fridge stashed beneath the counter. But it was nicely furnished. Thick hand-woven rugs softened the floor. It was furnished with a plush green sofa and loveseat, a small kitchen table with two antique-looking chairs, an ornate reading desk, and a single bed with a reading lamp mounted on the headboard.

To me it was a mansion. Compared to the six by twelve foot prison cells that I had shared with one and sometimes two men, the cottage was a slice of heaven.

Holly was a musician with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and on the days when she attended rehearsal I had peace and quiet, and could work undisturbed.

When she was home, however, she knocked on my door two or three times a day. At first she tried to get me to drink with her – she was a serious wine drinker – but  when that didn’t work she started bringing me lemonade or cookies. Instead of letting her in, I’d sit on the front stoop and chat for a few minutes, then excuse myself. I felt sorry for her. Her husband was away most of the time, and the two kids – whose names were Viola and Oboe, and I’m not making that up – were in daycare during the day. But it wasn’t my problem.


When I started prying up the floorboards, Holly was there in a flash, asking curiously about the noise, and trying to peek past me into the cottage. Fortunately I’d anticipated this problem. I had purchased a punching bag and hung it from the exposed rafters in the ceiling. I pointed it out to Holly and explained that I practiced punches, kicks and stick strikes on the bag, and that it could be loud.

“I make plenty of noise when I practice,” Holly said, touching my hand. “We’ll have to learn to ignore each other.”

I began the process of moving the furniture and rugs from place to place, removing floorboards in sections, and inspecting the exposed cement carefully. From the faded oil stains and occasional gouges, it was clear that the floor was still the original cement from the garage. I didn’t see any point in digging it up. That would be difficult, loud and time-consuming, not to mention impossible to hide.

Also, I assumed that whatever my father had hidden was something he would want to retrieve at a later date, which meant that it had to be accessible.

Each time I completed a section I replaced the floorboards. I laid down the builder’s felt, nailed the boards back in place using the original nail holes, and covered the nail heads with wood putty. When the putty was dry I replaced the furniture or rug that had covered that spot.

I often heard Holly practicing music in the main house. One afternoon the music became discordant and wild, then stopped. Shortly afterward she came to my door crying while I was in the middle of removing a section of flooring. I covered the spot with a rug, exited the cottage and pulled the door shut behind me. Holly threw herself into my arms, sobbing, and I had to pry her loose. Her breath reeked of alcohol.

“Have you found Jasper?” she asked. “Are you still looking?”

“Still looking,” I lied, “but I’ve almost given up hope.”

Holly wiped her eyes and smiled suggestively. “I could comfort you,” she said. “Or just keep you company. I’m having a rotten day. We’re doing a piece by Mahler next month and I can’t get my part right. Can’t I just come in and watch while you practice or whatever you do?”

Of course I refused and sent her away. She didn’t like that. I could see in her face that my lack of receptiveness was becoming a problem. I didn’t have much time left to do what I needed to do.

Sure enough, she came to see me the next day, her face tight with anger.

“This isn’t working out,” she said. “You’re not the friendly type of person that I thought.”

I reminded her that I had paid for a month in advance and that I had a right to stay for the full month.

“Fine,” she said. “But when the month is over, I want you out.”

The days raced by. I worked a ten-hour shift at the club every night, and between sleeping and meals, I had only a few hours each day to work on the search. What if whatever I sought was beneath the kitchen counter, the shower or the toilet? I’d never find it.

With a week remaining on my month’s rent, I went to see my father’s friend B. He was the only person I trusted. I updated him on my search and lack of success so far.

“I’ll hire a crew tomorrow,” he said as brewed a mug of tea. “We’ll tear out the floor and jackhammer the foundation if necessary.”

I shook my head. “That would attract attention. And I don’t want you getting in trouble if anything goes wrong. I can handle it.”

“Then handle it,” he snapped. I looked at him in surprise and he apologized. “I only want what’s best for you,” he said. “I feel terrible about how difficult your life has been, all you’ve been through. I should have helped you somehow.”

I stood and gripped his shoulder reassuringly. “None of it was your fault. You couldn’t have known what the future held. You’re helping me now, and that’s plenty.” 


Four days passed without success. Time was running out. That afternoon, Holly showed up at my door yet again. She had a small bandage on her upper lip, and held a CD in her hand. I could smell the wine on her breath. She extended the CD.

“I burned some songs for you,” she said. “A workout routine. I thought we could patch things up.”

“What happened?” I asked, indicating her lip. I wondered if she had banged her mouth on a door and cut it.

Holly’s frowned. “Just a cold sore,” she said. “No big deal. Can I come in? We can listen to the CD together.”

“I’m sorry Holly, but I -”

“Is it the cold sore?” Her face turned red with anger. “It’s not my fault that my bastard husband gave me herpes. I know he picked it up from some foreign whore. I’m not good enough for you, is that it?”

“It’s not that, it’s just – “

“Three days!” She shouted. “Then you’d better be out or I’m calling the sheriff! And I don’t believe you even have a dog!” She threw the CD at me and it bounced off my chest, the case breaking open when it fell to the ground. Then she stormed off.

An hour later there was another knock. Feeling resigned, I opened the door, only to find two police officers, with Holly standing close behind them, trying to push through.

One of the officers, a Hispanic female, turned to Holly. “Ma’am, I told you to stay inside.”.

The other, a young white man, addressed me. “Miss Holly Porter here says you assaulted her and tried to rape her.”

I stared at him. “That’s not true, officer.” I explained that Holly frequently came to my door drunk, wanting to be admitted, and would get angry when I refused. The officer nodded his head, as if he’d half expected to hear that. I had no doubt that he could smell the liquor on her breath. The two officers declined to file a report, and left.

“Cowards!” Holly screamed after them. “I pay your salaries!”

I shut the door and locked it. This was turning into a nightmare. How could people live like this? I knew that not all non-Muslims were so out of control, but I had the bad luck to live next to a alcoholic stalker. Still, thank God for Islam.

I felt sorry for Holly, but she wasn’t my problem. I only had three days left on my lease. I had to find whatever my father had hidden, now.

I found it the next morning.

I had removed a section of flooring near the rear wall. I noticed a very fine line in the cement, outlining a square about two feet on a side. In the center of this square, two bolt holes were drilled into the cement. There wasn’t anything overtly suspicious about it. It merely looked as if something had been bolted to the floor at some point in the past. A workbench, perhaps, or a tool of some kind. I vaguely recalled that my parents had had a deep chest freezer on this spot.

I shined a flashlight down into the bolt holes. In each hole there was a small steel eyehook, about two inches down. The bolt holes were too narrow even for my fingers. I would need a specialized tool. During the war I’d sometimes had to jury-rig repairs to rusting equipment and to the barracks themselves. Though we’d had a small engineering corps, they mostly tended to the needs of the leadership and high-ranking officers.

I didn’t have to jury-rig anything. At an auto parts store I found a chain with an s-hook attached to each end, used for towing. I hammered the s-hooks flat so that they would fit into the bolt holes. I’m sure my father had had a more elegant way of removing the cement block. But mine would work, I thought.

I draped the chain over my shoulders, fitted the s-hooks into the eyehooks, squatted down, gripped the strap and lifted with my legs. In prison I’d been able to squat 485 pounds. I don’t know how much this cement block weighed, but it was heavy. The chain dug painfully into my upper back. But it worked, and the cement block slowly came up out of the ground. With a tremendous effort I managed to lift it above floor level and set it to the side.

How on earth had my father moved the block? Even he and my mother would not have been able to lift it together. My father’s leg had been lame, after all. Perhaps he’d built a makeshift pulley of some kind…

Inside the hole was a steel combination safe, laid on its back so that the door faced up. I stared at it. There really was something here, after all. I hadn’t been at all sure there would be. After all these years, I was looking at something that my own father had hidden. He’d probably not hidden it specifically for me, but still, it was a piece of my father’s life, sitting here underground for sixteen years.

How was I going to open the safe without the combination? I had to vacate this cottage the next day. Could I simply lift it out and take it with me? I studied it from all angles. Small, engraved letters at the bottom of the door identified it as an “Ultrasafe Fire Safe 3000”. The safe was deep chested, with thick steel walls, and fit snugly into the hole. It must weigh hundreds of pounds, even more than the cement slab. There was no way I’d lift it out without equipment, and even then I’d have to jackhammer the floor around it. My father must have hired a construction team to build this hole and lower the safe into it.

Maybe I could blow the safe open? No. I had some limited experience with explosives, but not enough for a job like this, and where would I get explosives anyway?

I had to figure out the combination, and I had to do it by tomorrow. Because the safe lay on its back with the door facing up, I would not have to remove it at all if I could just get the combination right.

I sat on the floor, still breathing deeply from the effort of hoisting the cement block. I laid down on the floor and closed my eyes. The combination could be anything. And I had no idea how many digits the combination contained, or how many times to spin the wheel. Tomorrow morning I’d see what I could learn. With great effort I lowered the cement slab back in place, restored the floorboards, threw a rug over the spot, and moved the loveseat over it.

I rode my bike to a payphone the next day, ready with a pocket full of quarters. First I called directory assistance and requested the number for Ultrasafe Corp, which was based in Toledo, as it turned out.

I didn’t need my quarters. Ultrasafe had a toll-free customer service line. I was transferred to a chipper-sounding woman named Bettina, who seemed ecstatic at the opportunity to help me. I explained that I had an Ultrasafe 3000 and that I vaguely remembered the combination, but that I’d forgotten which directions to turn the wheel.

“It’s called a dial,” Bettina corrected me. “What’s the serial number?”

Fortunately I had thought to jot it down and I rattled off the numbers.

“Oldie but a goodie!” Bettina said. “It’s easy. You’ll note that the dial displays from zero to ninety nine. All you have to do is spin four times left to the first number, three times right to the second, two times left to the third, then one time right to zero. Note that I said to each number, not past. You’d be amazed how many people get that wrong. And there is no such thing as clearing the lock by spinning the dial. That’s a myth, like Bigfoot, you know? Speaking of, I’d be in hiding too, if people called me Bigfoot. Heavens alive, the wheels inside the lock are already out of position – that’s technical talk. I’m not a technician but I’ve learned over the years. Spinning the dial does nothing.”

I think she would have gone on all morning if I hadn’t thanked her and hung up.

Back at the cottage, I moved the chair and rug, gritted my teeth and hoisted the cement block again. My legs were getting a workout, and I already had a long blue bruise across my neck and traps from last night’s effort. I had no choice, however.

I looked at the safe. Three numbers, anywhere from one to ninety nine. I said Bismillah and spun the dial, turning left to the day of my birth, right to the month, left to the year, then right to zero.

Nothing happened. That was vanity, I supposed. I tried Charlie’s birthday, then my mother’s and father’s birthdays in turn, though I wasn’t 100% sure of the year in my parents’ cases. I tried the house number, one digit at a time. That would have been too obvious. Then I tried variations of all the above, for example using one digit for the month and then two; and two digits for the year and then four. I tried putting my ear to the dial and listening like I’d seen in the movies, but all I heard was the rasp of my own breath.

Frustrated, I paced the floor. Every time I passed the heavy bag, I hit it. I was out of ideas.

I remembered something Jamil used to say. “When you’re out of ideas, ask Allah.”

I went to the bathroom and performed wudu’. As I did, I felt myself growing calm, as if the water were washing away my anxiety.

I laid my musalla on the floor. It was the very same musalla that Jamil had given me seven years ago. It was homemade – made by one of the brothers Jamil had known at Leavenworth – and depicted a small masjid with a dome and minaret. I prayed ‘Ishaa, trying to clear my mind of all worldly thoughts, focusing only on the words that I spoke, and on my presence before Allah.

When my prayer was complete I raised my hands in dua’. I spoke to Allah in my own words, asking Him to help me open the safe, not because I needed any money that might be inside. I had considered that possibility but I didn’t care about it. What was more important to me was that it was from my father. A piece of his life. And maybe something from my mother as well.

As I thought about my mother and father together, I remembered a day when I’d been eight years old, before my mom and dad split up temporarily. Charlie and I had surprised the two of them with breakfast in bed for their anniversary. Between the two of us we’d managed to mess up the entire kitchen in order to produce a dish of scrambled eggs with pepper and cinnamon – Charlie insisted that cinnamon made everything better – along with whole pickles and fresh-squeezed orange juice. We’d picked the oranges from Mr. Niemeyer’s tree across the street, and used twenty oranges to make two glasses of juice.

Their anniversary. We’d all celebrated it, every year. October 30, 1974. It was easy to remember, because it was the day before Halloween, and the year before I was born. A day for our parents, then a day for us kids.

I was right this time. I could feel it.

I went to the safe, said a quick dua’, and kneeled beside it. I breathed on my fingers like the safecrackers I’d seen in the movies, and tried 10 left, spinning the dial four times. 30 right, spinning three times. 74 left, spinning two times. Then right to the zero.

With bated breath, I pulled on the lever beside the dial.

Nothing. It wouldn’t budge. I let out my breath in a huff. I stared at the safe. I was sure I was right. You know the famous hadith qudsi from Nawawi’s forty, the one about drawing near to Allah? Allah said, and I’m paraphrasing, that one draws near to Allah through the required worship and extra good deeds, until Allah loves him. When that happens, Allah becomes his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. If this servant asks for something, Allah grants it, and if he seeks refuge, Allah gives it.

That was how I felt in that moment. Allah had given me the answer and was guiding me, moving my hand on the dial. There was only some little detail that I was missing…

Aha! I remembered that outside of the USA, the month is often listed after the day. I tried again. 30 left, 10 right, 74 left, and right to zero. I heard a tiny click. I gripped the lever and pulled.

The safe opened, and I stared at the contents in wonder.

Next:  Hassan’s Tale, Part 16 – Kidnapped

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Wael Abdelgawad's novels can be purchased at his author page at Wael is an Egyptian-American living in California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including,, and He teaches martial arts, and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and ice cream. Learn more about him at For a guide to all of Wael's online stories in chronological order, check out this handy Story Index.



  1. Hafsa

    September 17, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    It’s that briefcase he found, I’m guessing.

    • Amatullah

      September 18, 2014 at 8:51 AM

      I happened to read this comment before I read the story and was like “Whaa..? If the treasure wasn’t revealed after such a long story, what are the 5 pages about then?” I am impatiently waiting for the treasure to be revealed in next episode!

  2. SnJannah

    September 17, 2014 at 3:07 AM

    Thank you brother Wael. :)

  3. Shafiq

    September 17, 2014 at 5:27 AM

    I knew it, Brother Wael. I knew you’d leave us on a cliff hanger. Hurry up and post the next part!

  4. Safa

    September 17, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    Jazakah Allahu khayran, this was a good part and imparted some relief … although Hassan mashallah is quite clever in his plots. Very driven & focused.

    If only he knows that Mr. B is a traitor.

  5. asrauf

    September 17, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Probably a small typo, you meant to say: “I remembered that outside of the USA, the month is often listed **AFTER** the day”

  6. Bint Mubasher

    September 17, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, this was amazing!
    I seriously can’t wait till next week. LIKE SERIOUSLY, can’t Hassan tell that Ammu is a traitor?!?!
    Hats off Br. Wael :))

  7. umm habiba

    September 18, 2014 at 12:42 AM

    I didn’t have to jury rig anything.. There’s a typo there.
    Great story and wonderful moments of inspiration.
    Jazaak Allah khair bro Wael

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 18, 2014 at 12:58 AM

      Some people say jury rig, some say jerry rig. Both are correct. Thank you for your kind comment, jazak Allah khayr.

    • Bint Mubasher

      September 19, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      My name is Habiba! I bet your daughter is amazing :)))))))))))

  8. Blue Pilot

    September 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    You’re a very gifted writer brother Wael mashaAllah. I love this story. Maybe you shouldnt post the ‘ourboros’ online. You should publish the book and I’ll buy one for everyone I know :) Baarak Allaah feek!

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 18, 2014 at 11:56 PM

      Haha, I think the readers would surround me in a dark alley and mug me for the pages.

  9. Hanadi

    September 18, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    The hardest part is waiting for the next post. Patience was never one of my virtues. MashAllah, keep up the great work.

  10. Wael Abdelgawad

    September 18, 2014 at 11:55 PM

    I just rewrote the scene on page 3 where Hassan tries to tell a joke to get the job. I like it better this way.

    • Amatullah

      September 19, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      This is now echoing the serious-side of Hassan Amir.

  11. Hafsa

    September 20, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    I’m not sure where I missed it. Why/ when did Hassan think his father had left him something?

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 20, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      You didn’t miss it. It was an idea I had later, and went back and inserted on this page in Part 5 of Hassan’s Tale. I also inserted mentions of it in a few other chapters.

      • Hafsa

        September 21, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        Jazak Allah khair for the reply. Can’t wait for the book!

  12. abuamirah

    September 20, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    wow, masha Allah i have been hooked all along. Great writing bro. You inspire me alot.

  13. Wael Abdelgawad

    September 23, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    As-salamu alaykum everyone. The next chapter of Hassan’s Tale is turning out a bit long. I need two more days to finish, Insha’Allah. Check back on Thursday night / Friday morning.

  14. Rabya

    September 24, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Salam bro Wael! So are we waiting til bect week for part 16??

  15. Nus

    September 25, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    AssalamuAlaikum Brother Wael. Please take all the time you need. You need not feel rushed inshallah.

  16. Farah Afzal

    September 26, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    “Tomorrow night” came and went.This is not good.

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 26, 2014 at 2:23 PM

      Part 16 is ready. I’m just waiting on my MM editor. Be patient, Insha’Allah :-)

  17. SZH

    September 26, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    Is today 26th?
    My internet browser is not showing link to “Hassan’s Tale, Part 16 – Kidnapped” on

  18. umm habiba

    September 26, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Relax guys.. It takes time.
    Lol bro Wael, it’s going to be difficult handling the fame

  19. Wael Abdelgawad

    September 26, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    Update: Just heard from my editor. Part 16 will be published Saturday, Insha’Allah. Sorry folks!

    • Ahmad

      September 27, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      We should have more patience. After all, this is something brother Wael is doing for free.

  20. Hazza

    September 26, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Absolutely disappointed to be waiting this long Br. Wael, its been like this for the past 2 to 3 weeks and you have constantly made us (the readers) wait every single time, only to be telling us the last second that we have to wait YET AGAIN before you publish the next part. There’s no efficiency or time-management whatsoever.

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 26, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      Hazza, this is the best I can do. I’m not a fast writer. The creative process takes time. I put a lot of thought into my plot, characters and settings. I revise and revise again. Sometimes I write a scene a certain way but it doesn’t feel authentic, so I change it. At the same time, I have my work, and a daughter to care for (I am a single parent), and my martial arts classes (I am an instructor). Completing a chapter from Tuesday to Tuesday is not always possible, especially with the longer chapters that I’ve been writing recently.

    • Wazeed

      September 27, 2014 at 12:11 AM

      @ Hazza. Grow up. at the end of the day its a fictional story. Get off the brothers neck. straight up. When he gets to it he will get to it. So sit there and wait till it comes up then you can can read.

  21. Hazza

    September 27, 2014 at 1:31 AM

    Fair enough brother Wael. My bad and my apologies, take as much as time as you need.

    P.S. why not just publish it every 2weeks then Br. Wael?

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 27, 2014 at 1:39 AM

      Hazza, that probably would have been wiser. With Ouroboros (the next story), I plan to write the entire thing before beginning the weekly installments, Insha’Allah. So it won’t be an issue.

      • n.h.

        September 27, 2014 at 4:48 AM

        Dear brother Wael, we are an impatient bunch and we live your writing… bad for you :). You can write everything before hand but we will miss the anticipation… a bit.

      • Rabya

        September 27, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        Salam brother! Hmmm I don’t know about that! I actually like the fact that we have to wait some weeks: it reminds us that you’re human and not to take you for granted! Also there’s always a surprise after each wait! A nice long story! And waiting builds the suspense, the trepidation!
        And really for Ouroboros, we have to wait til its all written first, then may be waiting much longer before the series starts…
        May Allah bless you for this brother!

  22. Umm Meriem

    September 27, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Just take all of this impatience as a compliment to the author. This has been a great read from start to finish, ماشاء الله تبارك الله

  23. Umar

    September 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Assalam u alaikum brother Wael, are you going to post this story later during the day or at another time. I was confused because when you update, you usually updated early during the day.

  24. Umm bilal

    September 27, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Really brother wael, I have never checked mm this frequently

    • Rabya

      September 27, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      Hahahahaha! SubhanAllah sister, you are so right!
      Have been going back and forth since Wednesday…although I did pick up some interesting articles during the wait! ;-)

      • Umm bilal

        September 27, 2014 at 10:55 PM

        Ha ha same here sister Rabya… May be this one is worth the wait !!

  25. homayra

    September 27, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Where is it…..been checking 5x a day ! LOL

  26. umm

    September 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    OK I’m not going to check MM until Wednesday.
    I find it annoying(and slightly insulting) that the editors would delay to post a ready chapter.

  27. zen

    September 28, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    I’m with umm. I have nothing but praise for the writing and the story lines masha Allah… and I have no problem waiting. But be to given the runaround in this way is disrespectful imo.

    • Helpless Slave

      September 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      I agree. Unless there is a valid excuse this is highly unprofessional.

  28. abdullah

    September 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Dear MM: be better than the muslim organizations we’ve grown tired of. Don’t say you’ll do something then fail to deliver. Just set reasonable expectations, then stick to them. Also don’t treat your readers like little children (remember Ramadan?) These types of things are pretty fundamental to the business world in which many of us work, and when we see that another one of our organizations doesn’t stand up to the kinds of standards we take for granted from non-Muslims, it doesn’t reflect well.

    I won’t lie, this is the main reason I come to MM, and I think there are others like myself. You should be treating this story series as your hook, i.e. the means by which you bring more people to your site, whereby they can benefit from other content. What I’m saying is that when you mess this one up, it will probably have the opposite effect.

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 28, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      The editor had a family emergency. He is working on posting the story today, Insha’Allah.

      It was narrated from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he said: “Do not think badly of a word uttered by your brother, when you can find a good interpretation for it.”

      In other words, assume the best about people. Be patient and understanding with them. Jazakum Allah khayr. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and loyalty. Your eagerness keeps me writing.

  29. Wael Abdelgawad

    September 28, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    My daughter Salma says, “Just let him write! I had to read all of these comments! Seriously? 49 comments? Okay that’s it.”

    Ha ha don’t mind her, she’s 8 years old and has a lot of attitude.

    • abdullah

      September 28, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Brother Wael – no skin off your back. I understand the difficulties of writing, and that sometimes these things take more time than expected. However, I’m kind of disappointed with the way MM has handled some aspects of this story series, and think they could have done – and still can do – better here. Allah bless your daughter.

    • Helpless Slave

      September 28, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Adding to my earlier comment, I think we should revisit the earlier episode of Hassan’s tale – POSITIVE ASSUMPTIONS. It feels like we have deviated far from the original niyyah of reading this story, I think hassan as a character provides us with so much naseehah which are overlooking as we are treating this as any other story. We have totally side stepped the Islamic ethos that the story aims at

  30. Umar

    September 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    So when is it going to be posted?

  31. Helpless Slave

    September 28, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    Subhana Allah how hasty we are, we don’t give our rights to our brothers and complain about the “Ummah is messed up”. I feel stupid now, to have posted to my earlier comment.

  32. homayra

    September 28, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    (Quotes Quran) فصبر جميل!!! Its hard isnt it….what about our bro n sis in palestine?? Patience ya ummati !

  33. n.h.

    September 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Family emergencies are valid. Patience is important. But I do hope MM will read and consider brother Abdullah’s comment as a naseeha. I personally did not like how MM handled Ramadan publications. Its important to set the right kind of expectations otherwise it all turns into an unnecessary test lol. I work, I look after my 2 year old, cook for a big family, deal with the fact that hubby works away so most of the week I am like a single mum, do classes and meetings and whatever productive I can. This series had been a good outlet and source of inspiration. When I have a bad day with everything in life, this whole waiting business is just an unnecessary, additional burden. Works like the last straw and breaks my back lol. Okay thats an exaggeration, but my mood does slide! I am sure the brothers and sisters complaining here probably havr similar excuses! Who knows, may be thereis a reader from palestine!

  34. Komal

    September 28, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    I think most of us failed to notice “Hassan’s ” level of PATIENCE and hence gave the MM team and brother Wael quiet an earful:)

  35. reshmarahiman

    September 28, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    Assalamualikum dear brother’s and sisters. It was quiet entertaining to read the comment section and I must say the comments have kept me entertained during the “wait” :). Alhamdulillah brother Wael may Allah reward you for your efforts. I am a designer by profession and can totally relate to the creative process and creative blocks! Pressure is a big joy killer and a big NO to the spontaneous overflow of ‘the creative juices’. And to all fellow Muslims following the story I can’t help but notice our impatience has been directly proportional to the delay..or do I dare say vice versa? So let us remain calm, we are Muslims first and patience should be our dominant virtue. Brother Wael when you do anticipate a delay (due to creative block, etc) bail yourself beforehand by announcing the same. When I work with deadlines and I cannot meet it I inform my client a few days ahead and then sometimes I do end up submitting the work before hand, but the buffer always helps. As for MM I believe you could have put an official announcement regarding the delay rather than put it in the comment section, as a reaction to the reader’s comments. I believe that way it could have been more professional. :) Allah knows best. May Allah guide us on the straight path. :)Ameen.

  36. Rabya

    September 28, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    Seriously people: CHILL!!!
    Nastagfirullah!! What’s wrong witht this Ummah!!!
    We’re all complaining just because our dear FICTIONAL story hasn’t been posted this week! REALLY??? How about seriously practicing what Islam preaches: Patience! And stop feeling soooo entitled!!
    Yes it’s a weekly series, but if it’s not ready, or there’s a setback, then keep it moving! Continue on with ur lives until it’s posted again.
    Do some dhikr, fast, take up a hobby, go on a trip, read a book, learn Quran until the following Wednesday!!! :D
    The Editor had a family emergency and yet not even one of us prayed that Allah make it easy for him!
    How about we all be grateful for this FREE means of entertainement and guidance, and stop shooting down the MM folks!
    As for Ramadan, being a HUGE fan of Brother Wael’s stories, I was a bit bummed about the break, but honestly it was in our best interest!
    It’s MM’s site, they call the shots. And on Judgement Day, they will be called to account for their actions. And postponing fictional stories so we can concentrate on Qur’an, I pray will weigh heavily in their balance of good deeds!
    So if ur not okay with some of the decisions, get ur own team of writers and start ur own blog.
    Or better yet post something constructive in the comments section so that those checking the page for the Millionth time will benefit from it!
    In the meantime if we can’t say anything nice or productive , lets stay silent and enjoy the ride… :)
    Wa salam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!!

    • Aly Balagamwala

      September 29, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      Jazakillahu Khairin Sister and Aameen to your duas.

      While y’all wait may I suggest you look around the site and benefit from over 6 yeas of content. Just enter a random year and month in the format (ie April, 2010)

      CommentsTeam Lead

  37. aaz

    September 29, 2014 at 12:44 AM

    That’s right why didn’t anyone pray for the editor? May Allah ease the difficulties he/she is facing right now.

  38. Helpless Slave

    September 29, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuhu Brother Wael, any idea when the next part will published.

    • Wael Abdelgawad

      September 29, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      I’m sorry, I don’t know. I was told yesterday or today. I guess the MM editorial staff is a little bit understaffed or overworked right now.

  39. Omer

    September 30, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    I just reread a section of this, and I thought it would be beneficial to reflect on Hassan’s decision to work at the dance club. The point of this comment is definitely not to condemn or judge a fictional character, but it is to point out a way of though that is common, and which I am extremely guilty of, in the hopes that it proves beneficial. He rationalizes it by stating the limited alternatives and the prevalence of haram in many general work places. I feel that we fall victim to that trend of thought when faced with sin. To make it acceptable to us we (with much help from the devil) spin an argument to justify it and make it okay, and sometimes its good to just step back and objectively view the issue. I appreciate Hassan’s circumstances, but Hassan was just an example used to facilitate this general advice.

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